Throughout my school and work life, I have received a lot of feedback on my personality, ranging from ‘too shy‘, ‘too aloof‘, through to ‘not passionate enough‘ and ‘needs to network better‘. It was a relief to find out (although I accept these need to be worked on) that I wasn’t a weirdo, but just an introvert. Since then, I’ve found a lot of interest in reading on the topic (am currently part way through Susan Cain’s book Quiet), but one of the articles that I frequently¬†direct people to as describing an introvert near-on perfectly is 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert.

A couple of the points refer to the need for downtime or the requirement to ‘recharge your batteries’. Often my Sundays are spent like this, and today is another one of them.

At the moment, I constantly feel busy. Work is busy, and although I don’t work the craziest hours, I rarely have time to take a lunch break. By the time I leave work my mind is spreadsheet fatigued. I also run, see my friends a lot, like to try and feed myself relatively healthily and *whispers* am dipping my toes into the world of online dating. All of this sometimes makes me feel overwhelmed.

I get to the point – usually every two to three weeks – where I just need to sleep and chill the heck out. I need to lay in bed, then on the sofa, to catch up on TV I’ve missed and want to see, to do some washing and to do some life admin. I just need to be at home, in my cosy little bubble.

I don’t see downtime as a waste of time. I like it and when it’s needed, it is a necessity.

Today I woke up mid-morning after thirteen (!) hours sleep. I missed my Sunday group run and I was still in my PJs at 3pm. And all of it was glorious. Because it will mean that I tackle Monday and the rest of my week feeling recharged and in control again. Blissful.

As an aside, in looking up the article link above, I also found this infographic on the Huff Post website. Very good info for all you non-introverts ūüėČ …

Like (I assume) most people, I don’t really like doing things I’m not good at. Which is why, generally, I quite like maths but mostly avoid doing pull ups – which, as an aside, is also the reason I often get stuck in the revolving doors at work (so embarrassing).

And then there are things I have a love-hate relationship with, like swimming. I really quite like swimming, but I am also really quite bad at it. I don’t like the faff, but I adore being in or near water. I can only really do Granny-style breaststroke, but I’d love to be better.

Recently on holiday in Pefkos, on Rhodes, I had the perfect swimming experience. The temperature was near 40 degrees celsius, the beach was beautiful and the sea was perfectly cooling. After a few stints¬†of just dipping in and out, I decided to go for a ‘proper’ swim. I swam out and out, through choppy waves and then out some more until I definitely couldn’t stand up. Usually not being able to feel the floor or cling onto the sides would fill me with panic, but this time I felt a bizarre sense of calm. I swam up and down sideways along the beach, then floated and stared up at the clear blue sky. It was glorious.

Now I’m back in autumnal London, I’m upset¬†that swimming can’t always be like that. I want sea, sand and standing in the sun to dry off *sad face*

This weekend, me and twelve other lovely ladies flew to Sitges, just south of Barcelona, for the first of (I suspect, many) Leah‘s hen celebrations… aka #ToppHens (a celebration of Leah’s soon-to-be new surname).

There were¬†crazy marathon training distances ran by Charlie and Laura on the Friday before I arrived and another shorter but still crazy early run on the Saturday morning too. I decided that although my half marathon training plan stated ‘9-10 miles’, that floating up and down the pool on a lilo/inflatable tyre/blow up giraffe was just as sufficient and it was BLOODY MARVELLOUS.

IMG_1058.JPGRecently I started reading The Minimalists blog, and quickly their ideas and values really interested me. At the heart of their principles for life, is that everything you own should either serve a purpose or bring you joy. I think these two simple rules are exactly what you should apply to your possessions – it’s such an easy way to ensure you aren’t surrounded by unnecessary clutter.

I’ve never been a hoarder and enjoy a cathartic clear out fairly often, but almost eight months after moving into my current home, I feel it is time for another. So, from today, myself and a few other of my social media-y friends (Laura, Charlie, Charlie & Harry) are taking part in The Minimalists’ Game, a month long challenge in which you remove unnecessary items from your home – one on the first day, two on the second, three on the third etc… for thirty days. The person who can keep it up the longest wins.

This all sounded fantastic until I realised this means removing 465 items from your home over the month. I had a VERY large clear out of my possessions at the beginning of this year, but I’m sure applying the purpose/joy principles will enable me to discover some more things I just don’t need.

So, if you need a clear out, join us! We’ll be using #ChuckIt (along with the official #MinsGame) – and let me know how you get on.

(Although we will be using the #ChuckIt hashtag, please remove your possessions responsibly – recycle where possible, follow guidance for electrical disposal, give to charity etc…)

Along with Tough Mudder, races in silly hot countries¬†and any kind of triathlon, taking part in a 24 hour relay race was firmly on my ‘hell no, I do not want to do that’ list (I’m making no comment as to whether or not it still is..!) However, some of my slightly more crazy friends were taking part in the Spitfire Scramble over the weekend, and as it was just one tube journey away, I said I’d ‘pop’ along to see them, cheer them, be in awe… and take¬†them cake.

I don’t bake a lot, I’m a much better cook than a baker, which is partly why there’s never been a recipe post on here before now, but I do have a couple of recipes that I keep going back to, both of which were specifically requested for my trip over to the race.

Both are banana based, so brilliant for convincing yourself there’s something a little bit good about them, and both very good¬†#runningfuel

Unfortunately neither of them are my recipes originally, but over time I have tweaked them a bit to make them the stuff of awesomeness that I keep going back to.

The most awesome dark chocolate banana bread

I was handed this recipe outside London Bridge station a couple of years ago – it was promoting¬†Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II with the Observer. You can find the original recipe online on the Red magazine website, or in the photo of the recipe below.

I keep to the list and amount of ingredients pretty exactly, but I would suggest that you don’t follow the instructions in order (only in the photo below, they are okay on the link!) – it means you use about 24 bowls and make a ridiculous mess! Basically ignore the first instruction to ‘sift the flour and baking powder together’ as you don’t need to do it at the beginning and repeats the step again in the third paragraph. I hope that makes sense..!

Anyway, it’s pretty much a ‘bung it all in a bowl’ type recipe, which is why I love it. This recipe makes quite a lot, I doubled it to make three loaves for the weekend, but the week before I halved it to just make one large loaf for my team at work. Both times it went down really well – this is my absolute favourite thing to make as it has never gone wrong. The recipe calls for very¬†overripe bananas, but the last few times I’ve made it, I’ve used pretty ‘normal’ bananas and cut them into chunky pieces which has worked just as well.

Easy peasy banana (and peanut butter) flapjacks

I originally saw this recipe on the Sainsbury’s recipe website, but I have adapted some of the weights over from cups to grams and, on this occasion, I even added some peanut butter in, because you can never have too much¬†peanut butter, obviously.

Ingredients:

  • 170g butter
  • 3 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 270g rolled oats
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 100g dark chocolate (optional – for melting on top)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons peanut butter (optional – for scruminess)

Method:

  1. Place butter, sugar and golden syrup in a microwave safe bowl or jug and put in microwave for 20 seconds at a time, until butter has melted, stirring in between each blast
  2. Once melted and mixed together, mix in the mashed banana, oats and peanut butter until there’s a thick mixture
  3. Spread out onto a tin (don’t make my mistake of spreading it out too thinly!) and bake at 180¬įc for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top
  4. Cool and drizzle with melted dark chocolate if desired
  5. Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

Let me know if you have a bash at either of them and how they turn out! Also feel free to leave any other easy bake recommendations – banana or otherwise – in the comments below!